3 Books to Read

On his trip to Spain Pope Benedict XVI spoke many times about Gaudí, the architect of the Sagrada Familia church. More than once, when talking about Gaudí’s inspiration the Pope recognized the 3 books: book of nature, Scripture and Liturgy. This is what he said on the Homily at the Sagrada Familia (1) and then similar words on the flight to Spain (2):

  1. from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  2. Gaudí desired this trinomial: the book of nature, the book of Scripture, the book of the liturgy. And precisely today this synthesis is of great importance. In the liturgy the Scripture becomes present, becomes reality today, it is no longer a bit of writing from 2,000 years ago but is celebrated, realized. And in the celebration of Scripture nature speaks, it meets creation and finds its true response, because, as St. Paul says, creation suffers – and instead of being destroyed, despised – awaits the children of God, that is, those who see it in the light of God. And thus this synthesis between the meaning of creation, Scripture and adoration is indeed a very important message for today.

Plenty to digest here, on how nature speaks to something greater than itself, pointing to God. By engaging nature in this fashion, Gaudí is allowing for one alternative in which the world can channel its appreciation for nature. Also, Guadi’s work may serve as a synthesis, indeed an example, of the cultural engagement that the Church must participate in, as reminded in an address on  the importance of the social doctrine of the Church, and it’s need to engage…

great centers of formation of world thought — such as the great organs of secular press, the universities and the numerous centers of economic and social reflection — which in recent times have developed in every corner of the world.

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